Backlinks are critical to search engine optimization for online brands and businesses. But how do you mine this digital gold?
By producing great content, you’ll likely build up backlinks over time. The question is, how can you accelerate the process by actively requesting email backlinks from other websites?
It’s called link building outreach, and it’s one of the most in-demand skills in the digital marketing and online business world.
Email outreach for backlinks links acquisition is the technical term for requesting a backlink. In this guide on how to write backlink outreach emails, we explore why you’d want links, how to find them, and how to get them, as well as proving five essential email outreach templates anyone can use.
Editor's note: Link building is largely a numbers game. That's why the main problem of backlink building (we have been there!) is scaling up your outreach efforts while keeping a personalized touch. We developed Flowrite to help with this problem, take a look:
What is link outreach?
So, just what is link outreach? Let’s start with the basics.
A backlink is a link from one website to another, and they can also be called inbound links or simply links.
Why are they important? To explain that, we need to understand how search engines operate and the importance of SEO.
Put simply, a backlink acts as an online mark of approval. Each backlink signifies that your page has value for the specific term to the search engine algorithm. “Backlinks are a critical component of SEO,” say the experts at SEMRush, but perhaps not in the way you think.
Previously, the more links you had, the better. Google is much more sophisticated, with links graded according to the authority, relevance and toxicity of the site providing the link. So a link from the New York Times will have greater value than your local free newspaper, for example.
Link building outreach involves actively searching for link opportunities and requesting them from website owners. That could be a link from a business website, a local authority website, a blog, or a forum. In exchange, you’ll provide something of value. In most cases, this is a guest blog post, article, or insight piece.
The power of backlinks
The purpose of a backlink is to provide value to the reader, with any improvement in ranking a positive by-product. This is the core of effective SEO, ensuring that your website is seen by those searching for what service you provide or products you sell.
Google doesn’t like those who try and game the system. Specifically, the search engine giant bans link schemes or those that artificially seek to alter the results of PageRank, the complex system it uses to rank pages.
As we’ve established, the best and most effective backlinks are from sites that share a familiar audience, outlook, and commitment to quality content.
So how do you get high-quality backlinks? You need to ask for them and offer something in return, but not money.
How to ask for a backlink
Link building and outreach isn’t a service everyone can offer but a core skill of SEO professionals. It’s sadly not as simple as as copy-and-pasting an email template.
You’ll need to develop a strategy targeting specific sectors and even sites to generate an all-important backlink.
Once you’ve found your audience, you need to create content to engage them (we don’t cover this in this guide). Then the sell-in starts. Remember you’re talking to a person, says Moz. It’s about expressing how your content adds value to the user experience in terms that resonate.
If you’re wondering how to get sites to link to your site, Effective link-building strategies all share the same things, says Moz. A process must be five things:
- Relevant and timely
- Add value to the user-experience
But where do you find high-quality sites for backlinks?
Link building outreach tools
There are loads of link-building outreach tools out there, including brands you may know, such as Ahrefs, Right Inbox, Buzzstream, and hundreds more. You’ll also find a massive selection of outreach SEO services and SEO outreach agencies offering to do the hard work for you.
What do they do, and, more importantly, is it worth paying for?
Some backlink outreach software provides you with insights into links for you and your competitors. For example, you can see which sites link to other organizations’ websites in your field. The concept is, if they offer them a link, then they could provide you with one too.
The logic is sound and obviously works, but backlink software comes at a considerable cost – in some cases, up to $1,000 per month.
Link building outreach agencies offer to take the whole task off your hands. They’ll use the same strategies as we’ve outlined here but will charge you handsomely. If you can afford the monthly cost, it can be effective. However, there are drawbacks.
The first is that you don't control how your business or brand is represented to site owners, which can be dangerous. The second problem is that some agencies and organizations use underhand tactics to generate links that could harm your reputation and ranking.
If you’re starting out or can space the time, you can achieve incredible things with a spreadsheet and Flowrite. Start by searching Google for websites, blogs, and other websites that publish content relevant to your area. Avoid big-hitters such as national newspapers; instead, go for those more likely to feature a post, including blogs, information, advice sites, and even specialist forums.
Link building outreach takes time and demands a methodical approach, but you can achieve amazing things this way.
Writing a backlink request
We’ve explained what backlinks are, how they work, and why they’re crucial for SEO. You should also now know how to identify potential backlink opportunities too. The next step is to reach out and request backlinks.
A polite email and an attachment with a piece aren’t enough to bag a backlink. You need to show the person, in many cases a by journalist, webmaster, marketer, or blogger, that you’re going to improve the user experience of visitors to their sites.
Your content pitch must achieve five things, says Moz in its guide to backlink outreach. It must be:
- Packed full of information
- Deliver value
- Be creative
Every backlink request is the same, right? Wrong. The key is to understand what would motivate the site owner to provide a link. For example, a public-sector organization is probably looking for information and advice charity, a blogger a boost for their public profile; and a business some juice for their brand.
Your emails must demonstrate that you understand the audience for the site. If you’re pitching for a link, explain what the value is to the site owner, and crucially, their audience too.
You may be prepared to pay for backlinks (if you do, that’s your business). But, even then, a well-written and intelligent email will get better results than a cut-and-paste approach.
Our advice, write professional emails for real people. Here’s how.
Professional emails for real people
Always remember that you’re writing to real people advises Moz, and it’s great advice. We’ve written extensively on creating formal professional emails and targeting the right tone, so check out those blogs before moving on.
At Flowrite, we’ve found that there are four fundamental parts to successful backlink request emails:
- Do your research – Show the website owner, editor, or publisher that you understand and appreciate what they do.
- Briefly express your idea – Explain the concept or your content, run through the fundamentals but don’t give away too much. Using questions can be an effective strategy to grab attention and keep them guessing.
- Explain relevance – You’ve explained what your idea is; now tell them why it matters and why it matters now.
- Offer exclusivity – Don’t pitch your idea to too many editors. Offer exclusivity is a powerful tool that shows.
We’ve talked about it before, but if possible, spend some time attempting to find the name of the person you’re contacting. This creates a personal connection that can work in your favor. If you want to make the best first impression, check out our guide to email etiquette.
Armed with this information, let’s dive into examples to demonstrate how it’s done.
5 backlink request templates
Each backlink request should be personalized and express the four key fundamentals outlined above. To help you, here are 5 backlink request templates that you can use to get backlinks that benefit your business.
1. Backlink request template for a blogger
Bloggers play an increasingly influential role in promoting businesses and brands. This is because they offer authenticity and relatability, with a link demonstrating clear relevance for search engines. Blogs are run by people with a passion, and it’s critical that you recognize and respect this. Often their name is on a blog, so they take things personally. Here’s how we would create a backlink request for a blogger:
2. Backlink request for an online publisher
Online publications include specialist sites covering almost everything you can think of, from radio repairs to rowing. Online publishers want less passion and more professionalism. Most online publishers are funded by advertising revenue, so relevance here is critical, including reasons why the user would click and connect with your piece. Be sure to check out pitch or publication guidelines and reference them in your request.
3. Backlink request from a forum
Forums provide an opportunity for us to engage with those who share our interests. This offers rich opportunities for businesses in the same sector looking to make connections. Here’s how we would craft a backlink request from a forum.
4. Backlink request from a professional organization
A link from a professional organization such as a charity, local council, or business advisory service can be incredibly valuable to businesses of all sizes. Still, they’re not easy to come by. You’re not offering content here so much as improving the user experience. You’ll need to demonstrate that what you do and what you’re offering is relevant. Each request must be expertly tailored, so treat this template as an outline and create your own.
5. Backlink request from a ranking website
Ranking websites are all over the internet, providing an easy way to grab a great link with some value. Ranking websites are owned and operated by organizations and individuals who deal purely in volume, so keep things short and sweet. Here’s how we would write a backlink request from a ranking website.
Flowrite's link building template
The backlink request email templates here provide a snapshot of how to approach link-building outreach, but there are easier ways to achieve epic results.
Flowrite’s SEO email templates are clear and compelling, giving you the best chance of securing a valuable backlink that boosts your business.
The intelligent AI-powered writing assistant transforms notes into intelligent and insightful emails that appeal to editors, bloggers, and businesses.
We hope these templates will help you improve email outreach for backlinks. We know that writing link outreach isn't just tough on the mind; it's time-consuming too, which is why Flowrite can help.
Our tool can help you transform your link acquisition with AI powered link building templates that have proven to be one of the most effective link building strategies for us.
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